Safeguarding Our Future
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- Systems Thinking, governance, learning for living, Covid-19, future, future, covid-19, strategies, solutions, governance, learning for living, group trauma
As the deadly Covid virus adapts to survive in a vaccine environment, the book argues we may need to adapt governance processes and social behaviours. During the Covid ‘War’ our politicians - spent time fighting each other. Defences were weakened by some of those who remained insistent on personal freedoms.
This new book offers a way forward to deal with some of the important challenges of our difficult times. It has relevance to wide range of readers, but particularly to those with leadership roles in many organisations, from industry trainers to services, including the police grappling with issues in their local areas.
The book examines areas and necessary wider changes, beyond the scope of the UK Official Inquiry into Covid-19.
- 2023-06-02 11:26:15
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- Copyright Gordon Dyer 2023
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Subject: A Practical Guide to Effective Collaboration at Scale
I. Chapters 1 through 6: The threat to humanity: COVID-19
II. Chapters 7 through 10: An exploration of many far-reaching philosophical issues such as the nature and history of human rights, the effects of the legacy of racism and slavery in the UK and the US, and the nature of political and social power.
III. Chapters 11 through 16: A path toward potential solutions to similar, future global threats through the adoption of systems thinking, taking the perspective of evolutionary learning, and engaging in intentional design conversation.
This book is deeply rooted in factual information about the social and health-related impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in regards to their impact in the UK and the US.
The author makes a convincing argument that very significant shifts in outcomes of future global threats could result from a change in how we collectively engage in thinking, communicating, and problem-solving via-a-vis these threats. Massive global threats, such as COVID-19 and global climate change, require effective cooperation and collaboration on a massive scale. The climate of increasing political divisiveness has not positioned us, collectively, for effective action. Dialogue, design conversation and systems thinking just may be the way forward that we all need.
The author provides a useful and practical guide for systems practitioners to implement these ideas, as well.
In future work by the author, it would be interesting to hear his thoughts on how individuals can effect the organization - or self-organization - of would-be stakeholder groups poised to engage in the kinds of design conversation he promotes. I'm referring to tactical, logistical ideas for getting these conversations started.
For example, are these conversations to happen strictly within existing social frameworks (e.g., schools, political meeting rooms, boardrooms, town hall meetings, etc.) or is there a need for them to extend beyond and across the boundaries of these preexisting, individual local and national social systems? An exploration of these types of tactical matters would seem like the next logical step in effecting the real change that the author is calling for.
The potential change Dyer envisions represents a real chance for humanity to transcend areas where it is dangerously stuck in outdated means of thinking, acting and decision-making for the greater good.
Subject: Comments on Gordon’s Book, Safeguarding Our Future.
2. On p. 126, you wrote “The changes proposed will take at least a decade to have any notable impact….” Also, you wrote, “Finally, I make a special plea to the ‘expert army’ of experienced practitioners of group work … to try conversation and the methodology for yourselves.” Systems Design Conversation is designed for a group of, say, 10 to 30 people, who know each other, can get together and interact with each other. How can Systems Design Conversation be implemented for the whole human kind?
3. Russel Ackoff’s idea of using Idealized Systems Design (ISD) for a large number of people. was to use ISD in a pyramid-like structure, starting with a small group of people (leaders) as the first step, then, gradually go down on the hierarchical ladder to reach many people. Your logic seems to be similar to his idea. This makes sense from us, systems researchers’ and practitioners’ viewpoint. I wonder, if there are other ways to spread this Conversation culture to a large group of people. Make a sample video of a Conversation?
Subject: A great read - ideas worth trying
In this well-researched book, Dyer aims to encourage changes in behaviour patterns in a world of diverse threats –from Covid 19, the war in Ukraine, world climate change and whatever other, as yet unknown, threats lie ahead.
Instead of staying “...on the highway to Hell with our foot on the accelerator..” as the UN Secretary General said only last year, we should abandon prejudices based on party political dogma and perceived rights and freedoms and make plans for governments of national, or international, unity to be formed to face and defeat the threats.
Given the predicament we face Dyer’s logic of trying to ‘do something’ and suggestions for moving forward with small groups are persuasive.
This is an important book which should be read by decision makers at all levels.
Subject: Read this if you want to change your future
Over the past 30 – 40 years, numerous pundits have expressed the need to think differently about climate change, in order to be prepared for the future. But in spite of numerous warnings about its likely effects, so far, we are way off doing anything significant to combat it. This is the current state of our civilisation. But there is nothing new in this state of affairs. We were not prepared to deal with the sudden attack of the Covid-19 pandemic. Dyer uses this example to explore what we can learn from our experience of this pandemic, in order to be better prepared to deal with future ‘attacks’ on our civilisation. He proposes a new way of thinking, learning and acting , based on ideas first proposed by Bela Banathy who, in 1997, suggested that we have to change the course the course of evolution, if we are to survive for very long.
Dyer presents a practical methodology using a conversation style of dialogue as a lever for the development of small groups recovering from trauma and planning for the future. A theme that runs through the book is the tension between the desire for personal freedom and social responsibility to respect and care for others. He charts the development and relationship between these values over time. In a democratic culture, the balance is controlled to keep us between these two extremes. His describes in some detail our response to the Covid-19 virus up to the present day, the balance of which he believes has gone too far towards freedom, at the expense of responsibility to others. He is careful to point out that too much freedom leads to anarchy, whereas too little freedom leads to totalitarian governance. He is also identifies many lessons to be learned from our experience with Covid-19, which suggest that we need to modify our learning systems, with the purpose of changing from the belief that the object of education is ‘learning for life’ to one of ‘living to learn’. His learning methodology reflects this change, which aims to design the future of our civilisation by a disciplined, self-organised democratic way of communication, within agreed limits of behaviour.
Safeguarding our Future is presented from a non-technical, systemic, perspective. This makes it easy to understand, and why it is an excellent example of what thinking differently about means in practice while, at the same time, making it accessible to a wide public.
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